Samuel Beckett was one of a long line of literary geniuses that hailed from Ireland and made their mark on the world on both the stage and the page. Drawing his early influences from the Italian poet Dante and the French philosopher René Descartes he was further inspired by another Irish literary legend in James Joyce when he befriended and worked for him in the late 1920's. The first part of Becketts life was about discovering himself and determining his literary style, it was not until after WWII that he finally cast off the shadow of Joyce and delved into the abstraction phase of his creative writing. Fame beckoned during the 1950's with the Molloy trilogy of novels and the highly successful play Waiting For Godot. Beckett always distanced himself from fame and press attention and even when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969 he declined to receive it personally and instead sent his publisher on his behalf. In his later years his work took on a more minimalist style with a brevity in words being a key component which he emphasised by being quoted as saying: "Don't look for meaning in the words. Listen to the silences". Although he was a private man an intriguing insight into his life and thinking was revealed when four volumes of his private letters were published where he went into some detail describing the thought processes behind his writings. Great authors often make great one liners and he was no exception, so here is my compilation of 12 of the best Samuel Beckett quotes
- Mini Bio
- Name: Samuel Barclay Beckett
- Born: 13th April 1906, Foxrock, Dublin, Ireland
- Died: 22nd December 1989, Paris, France
- Occupation: Novelist, playwright and poet
- Alma mater: Trinity College Dublin
- Notable achievements: The French government awarded him the Croix de guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance medals for his work in fighting the Nazis for the French resistance
- Pen name: Andrew Belis
- Awards: He was awarded the 1969 Nobel prize for literature
- Sport: While at university he represented Trinity College Dublin in a cricket match against Northamptonshire thus making him the only Nobel Laureate to ever play first class cricket
- Literary apprenticeship: In the late 1920's Beckett assisted James Joyce by carrying out research for his novel Finnegans Wake
- Trivia: In 1938 he was stabbed in the chest by a notorious Paris pimp and suffered a perforated lung, during his hospitalisation an old tennis acquaintance Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil frequently visited and they subsequently fell in love and eventually married
- Quote about Samuel Beckett: The Dutch painter Bram van Velde had this to say about him; "This friendship with Beckett is the most important experience in my life. He was fully alive for my way of working. What he could express in words, I did with my paintings"
"Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order"
"My mistakes are my life"
"Don’t wait to be hunted to hide"
"The whisky bears a grudge against the decanter"
"Against the charitable gesture there is no defence"
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better"
"Don't look for meaning in the words. Listen to the silences"
"The dead die hard, they are trespassers on the beyond, they must take the place as they find it"
"Who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand"
"The end is in the beginning and yet you go on"
"The day that you die will be like any other day...only shorter"
"Two in distress make sorrow less"
Great quotes are not where you find great wisdom. It's where you share this knowledge that counts